# Thursday, 27 May 2010

On Wednesday I presented an hour long talk on an introduction to Scrum, titled “To Scrum or not to Scrum” at the PMI’s Project Management Day in Bucharest, Romania.  It was a great event and I presented Scrum from a project manager’s point of view. About 15% of the audience is not from the IT field and I also tried to present Scrum in a way that is more generic. (You can download the seminar slides here, they are the same slides I have used all year.)

I asked the audience to turn off their cell phones, but asked them to stand up and take my photo while they did it, so I took their photo at the same time. This is about half the room, sorry to the other half. :)

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After the event I hung out with some of the PMI guys and walked down to a local restaurant/beer hall Caru Cu Bere in the historic old town (there was even a statue of Dracula there!) On the walk down I saw a Romania Arc de Triumph.

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Looking forward to my next visit!

posted on Thursday, 27 May 2010 02:49:05 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Let’s face it, going to a technical conference is good for your career but it’s not a whole lot of fun. You need an outlet. You need to have fun.

Cheap beer and lousy pizza (with a New Orleans twist)

We are bringing back GeekFest! Join us at Pat O’Brien’s for a night of gumbo, beer and hurricanes. There are limited invitations available, so what are you waiting for? If you are attending the TechEd 2010 conference and you are a developer, you are invited. To register pick up your "duck" ticket (and wristband) in the TechEd Technical Learning Center (TLC) at the Developer Tools & Languages (DEV) information desk.

You must have wristband to get in.

Tuesday, June 8th from 8pm – 11pm
Pat O’Brien’s New Orleans
624 Bourbon Street New Orleans, LA 70130

posted on Tuesday, 25 May 2010 13:47:13 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 23 May 2010

This weekend I was traveling to the World Expo in Shanghai and there is a maglev train connecting the airport to the metro system. The Shanghai Maglev Train was the world’s first commercial maglev train and also is the fastest.

Ok, ok, for those of you non-engineering geeks, a maglev train stands for: magnetic levitation. According to wikipedia:

Maglev, or magnetic levitation, is a system of transportation that suspends, guides and propels vehicles, predominantly trains, using magnetic levitation from a very large number of magnets for lift and propulsion. This method has the potential to be faster, quieter and smoother than wheeled mass transit systems. The power needed for levitation is usually not a particularly large percentage of the overall consumption; most of the power used is needed to overcome air drag, as with any other high speed train.

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We got on the train at the airport and rode and accelerated to 431 kph and then lasted at that speed for about a minute. In total we covered 30km in 8 minutes. This is the fastest train in the world.

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It was pretty cool, no real track! It was super quiet, the only thing we heard (besides all of the tourists like me taking photos) was the air outside zipping by. No sound of engines or wheels on a track.

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Kathleen was not impressed. She kept saying “dude stop taking photos of the train.”

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I gave her this to read in Wired about high speed rail in the US. They are coming soon.

posted on Sunday, 23 May 2010 10:19:11 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 20 May 2010

I had a quick visit to Sydney this week, my first time back to Sydney in something like 18 years. Flying in from Hong Kong was only about 8 hours, and when Adam Cogan picked me up from the airport, he took me directly to Watson’s Bay where we went Stand-up Paddle Boarding. The weather was cold and a storm was brewing, making conditions, well a little crazy. TJ, Adam, and I risked hypothermia and had a blast!

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On Wednesday morning, I did my now (in)famous Scrum Seminar. You can download the seminar slides here. I said that the most important things to success in implementing scrum are the engagement of the product owner (both with writing the user stories and in the daily scrum) and that it is ok to change scrum. We spent a lot of time on estimation and Team Velocity as well. We had some laughs at Adam’s expense as well as got off topic with a quote of mine that “Windows is nothing without Excel!”

That evening I spoke at the Sydney .NET User Group. I was doing a “Silverlight Line of Business” talk. It was basically about 2.5 hours and in the first half I did my WCF Walk through with some extra bells and whistles including building an Astoria service and consuming it. At the break I showed the Telerik Data Services Wizard and it was a huge hit, specifically the auto-generation of the SIlverlight Application. (I also showed a feature that will ship very soon that allows you to style your application via the wizard.)

After the break I talked about WCF RIA Services that shipped the other day. Just like before, I ripped off Brad Abrams blog here and showed items 1-5, plus #8 with a PowerPivot client. The PowerPivot client seemed very popular!

It was a great trip and I hope to be back soon.

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posted on Thursday, 20 May 2010 07:59:38 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 18 May 2010

When the Nexus One shipped, Google was changing the rules in the mobile phone market in the United States. Google made the Nexus One available only via its Web Site, with or without a plan. I bought my Nexus One on the web and use it with my existing AT&T plan when I am in the US and my existing Vodafone plan when I am home in Hong Kong. Never before in the United States could you just buy your phone from a manufacturer or a retail outlet unlocked and then walk into a carrier with your unlocked phone and buy a plan. (This is how it is done here in Hong Kong and most of Europe.) By making a hot new phone that lots of people want, Google was changing the rules and starting a revolution.

The revolution lasted only 5 months. The carriers fought back: Verizon and Sprint have decided not to support the Nexus One. On Friday Google announced that it is closing the Nexus One web store down. The Nexus One will be still be available but now you will have to buy it from a carrier with a plan. I don’t know if the phones will continue to be unlocked, however, even if they are unlocked, this is a step backwards. Google says that people want to play with the phone first and that is why they are closing down the web store. If that was true, Google would sell the phone in Best Buy and Walmart, the real reason is that the carriers balked.

Google is now in an all out war with Apple and the iPhone, so they need the carriers on their side. Google will soon release a competitor to the iPad on Verizon’s network, so my guess closing the web store was a concession to the carriers.

The carriers win this round. Now it is up to Microsoft and its Zune Phone to change the rules.

posted on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 04:04:17 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 17 May 2010

I had a nice chat with Abhishek Baxi and Manan on Microsoft Talk about: TechEd 2010 India, the Visual Studio 2010 Launch, Telerik, the MVP program, and Karaoke. I also spoke about my love for the IPL, Indian food, Punjabi music, rides in a tuk-tuk, hailstorms, and Bangalore traffic as well.

Listen here.

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posted on Monday, 17 May 2010 22:29:34 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 16 May 2010

I’m about to leave for a 12 day road trip that will take me to six different countries on three continents.

My first stop, arranged by Adam Cogan and Telerik, is an Agile Seminar in Sydney, Australia. Should be fun, at least they already know what Rugby is and will get my sports references.  I will also be speaking on Silverlight at the Sydney .NET User Group. I’ll be doing my WCF walk through and then a RIA Services demo, about 2 hours, no slides, only Visual Studio. In addition to my presentation, I will also be demoing the new Telerik Data Services Wizard at the user group and show how to build a data driven Silverlight application in 30 seconds. I will also unveil to the world a brand new feature of Telerik OpenAccess/Data Services Wizard at the user group.

I’ll come back to Hong Kong for a day or so and then for the three day weekend (Buddha’s birthday!) will head up to Shanghai for the World Expo.  I’ll but a Telerik sticker on the door of the Bulgarian pavilion. Just hope that act of guerilla marketing doesn’t lead me to a communist Chinese prison…

The week after, I will head to Sofia and visit the Telerik mother ship for a few days. Then off to Romania to speak at a PMI conference, on yes, Scrum. A quick one day layover in Istanbul to visit the infamous anti-suckieness club President and Vice-President: Malek and Goksin. Not sure if they, now both being Microsoft employees, will make me go see customers or not.

Should be fun, I hope to see you at some of the events!

posted on Sunday, 16 May 2010 04:45:01 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Friday, 14 May 2010

Facebook is getting a lot of flack about its privacy policy changes. At issue is a new feature where Facebook will automatically share your information with 3rd parties unless you specifically opt-out-which is confusing to do.

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This feature allows a site like Yelp to know a lot about you before you ever visited it. Yelp would automatically register you (saving you the time to do it yourself!) and allow you to log in with your Facebook credentials. Yelp would then customize the site based on your information and your contacts’ preferences. I think that is cool, I would rather know what my friends think of a new restaurant than total strangers.

We already allow Google to read our email, far more private than our Facebook profile data, and target us ads. Facebook wants to take that one step further and make your social graph portable. In my opinion,  the opportunity to have your social graph and preferences follow you from site to site is pretty powerful. A portable social graph is the next wave of social networking. Instead of interacting with your friends just in Facebook, you can now rely on them on the entire Internet! This has endless opportunities.

One obvious example is travel. I just booked a hotel room. I read through lots of reviews on travel sites and looked at photos, etc. Wouldn’t it be cool to know if any of my friends stayed at hotels in that city automatically when I go to the site. Wouldn’t it be even cooler if Facebook figured out what I was traveling for based on my social graph and links to sites like Expedia and targeted me offers based on my preferences.  I just booked my tickets to TechEd USA in New Orleans, it would be great if the Expedia via my portable social graph from Facebook told me “25 of your friends are staying in New Orleans until Saturday, want to extend your stay one night at 10% off?” I already get 100 annoying status updates a day saying “Landed in SFO!” Imagine if those annoying messages could be put to good use by adding some intelligence and aggregation.

This can be extended to all sites on the internet, not just travel and leisure. What about just regular browsing? It would great to know what your social graph is reading. Isn’t this what twitter is trying to be? After the annoying “Watching my kid play soccer” updates, a ton of updates are links to articles. Facebook can bring more order to that with aggregation, history  and “like”. Digg is trying to do this, but not with your social graph. Not only can an open social graph push this all out to you, it would work on demand too.  Think about just reading an article on a blog, or another site like BBC.com. It would be great if I was alerted that 2 of my friends commented on this story in the tons of comments below. A portable social graph will do that.

It will be a brave new Internet. A portable social graph is the future.  Facebook is just taking us there kicking and screaming.

posted on Friday, 14 May 2010 04:19:15 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 13 May 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010
What’s new in Visual Studio 2010

Subject: 
You must register at https://www.clicktoattend.com/invitation.aspx?code=147964 in order to be admitted to the building and attend.
Come take a look at the new features available in Visual Studio 2010 that will help make you a more productive developer. In this session we’ll see new features such as the new appearance and behavior of the IDE, code navigation features including the new easier-to-read code editor, search-as-you-type and call hierarchy. We’ll also take a lap around some of the new web development and deployment features.

Speaker: 
Rachel Appel, Microsoft
Rachel is a Developer Evangelist for Microsoft based in New York City. Previous to her work at Microsoft, she has been working as a mentor, instructor, software developer, architect and DBA for nearly 20 years. During her career, Rachel has worked with a variety of languages, technologies and systems and has contributed to projects of all sizes including large scale enterprise applications at some of the world’s leading companies.
Rachel’s expertise lies within developing solutions that align business and technology using the Microsoft .NET family of products, particularly ASP.NET & SQL Server. She is a former ASP.NET MVP & former ASPInsider and continues to hold the Microsoft Certified Trainer, MCAD & MCSD certifications.

Date: 
Thursday, May 20, 2010

Time: 
Reception 6:00 PM , Program 6:15 PM

Location:  
Microsoft , 1290 Avenue of the Americas (the AXA building - bet. 51st/52nd Sts.) , 6th floor

Directions:
B/D/F/V to 47th-50th Sts./Rockefeller Ctr
1 to 50th St./Bway
N/R/W to 49th St./7th Ave.

posted on Thursday, 13 May 2010 04:42:14 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback